During the first decades of our maturing, we have been described as a “tabula rasa,” a blank or unwritten on tablet. For example, our nurturers may “wire” us Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, Nazi, democrat, republican, or communist. We are prescribed with the specific language we are to think and speak. If we are programmed for perfectionism and guilt, we are prone to go through life demanding more of ourselves than is reasonable resulting is depression no matter how productive we are. If we are programmed for optimism and problem-solving, we are inspired with chronic enthusiasm to become creators and appreciate ourselves and others. At one extreme, our nurturers may educate us to develop wings and fly off on our own to assume personal responsibility for who we are and what we become. At the other extreme, they may keep our wings so clipped that we are inclined to closely adhere to their indoctrination. In this case becoming one’s own person may require extraordinary effort and risk-taking. Repetition becomes habit. Habit passed on from generation to generation becomes tradition. Tradition, like instinct, is a difficult master to resist.
Do you recognize that our first two masters, instinct and tradition, are dictators? They prescribe who we are and what we are to become. Action not in compliance with the perspective of a dictator’s way is the wrong way. Their demands are supported by the authority of instinct and tradition and commonly lack common sense logic. Nature and our nurturer’s manner of dealing with issues were effective to solve yesterday’s issues. They continue to be effective as most of today’s challenges remain relatively unchanged. However, instinct and tradition’s predetermined solutions have little resilience to solve today’s problems when they are unlike past experience. They are ill suited to deal with new problems such as pollution, global warming, and the depletion of our food supply on land and in the oceans. Instinct and tradition are especially dangerous when applied to the most immediate threat to our loved ones and civilization, the proliferation of weapons of ultimate destruction to tribes who already state it is their intent to use them.
The Story of Us becomes most interesting when we recognize the third switch and its distinct set of wiring. As our freedom organ becomes physically mature we acquire the power to create an original third pattern of wiring. Our human freedom organ is our creator’s unique gift of intelligence. It provides us the opportunity to become self-programmers. By acquiring knowledge and skill in thinking, we become creators! As we discover knowledge, share it, and pass it forward from generation to generation, we make ourselves more powerful creators. In the last 100 years, our explosive growth of knowledge in every direction is enlightening us with such quantum speed that we can envision creating the utopia of our dreams while at the same time we are making widely available our new weapons of self-extinction. No life on earth, past or present, has ever possessed such power and the freedom to determine its destiny as our current generation. True mental freedom includes the opportunity to create alternative actions and choose among them. Creative thought in the service of instinct or tradition or a human dictator is not true mental freedom. Our freedom organ, like the third light switch, empowers us to create increasingly constructive and destructive outcomes. My understanding of Einstein’s insight is that if we choose to survive and thrive, we must wire our freedom organ with the wisdoms that consistently direct our unprecedented creative power to constructive outcomes. We have already created sufficient nuclear weapons on release ready status to destroy the world for human life many times over. We can no longer tolerate the unleashing of our newest biological and nuclear creations. Our work-in-progress is to make ourselves the wise, humane person to which we aspire.